New US 70 Princeton Bypass Expected To Decrease Traffic Crashes, Reduce Flooding
PRINCETON – Johnston County Commissioners and the Princeton Town Board have asked the NC Department of Transportation to accelerate construction of the US 70 Princeton Bypass. The project would upgrade US 70 to interstate standards for the future I-42.
The proposed 6.7 mile Princeton Bypass would run from Pondfield Road west of Princeton to the US 70 Goldsboro Bypass in Wayne County and would be constructed in two phases. The first phase of construction would start in 2026. The second phase would begin in 2028.
Commissioners and town officials want that time line accelerated due to drainage issues caused by inadequate culverts under US 70 and the dramatic increase in traffic accidents in recent years.
From October 2017 to September 2021, there have been 184 accidents along US 70 in Princeton, including five fatalities and 89 injuries. Additionally, sections of Princeton experience severe flooding following heavy rains, and the only way to mitigate the problem would be to enhance the old culverts under US 70.
Princeton town commissioners and Johnston County commissioners recently adopted a joint resolution asking the NCDOT to accelerate the timeline of the project.
Both boards agree with the NCDOT’s plan to raise US 70 over Rains Mill Road, have a compressed diamond interchange at Pearl/Edwards Street, and an interchange at US 70 and US 70-A.
The NC DOT estimates the project will cost $264.6 million. Public meetings were held by the NCDOT with Princeton residents in 2017 and 2019.
Under the current timeline, right of way acquisition on Phase One is scheduled to begin in 2024 with construction starting in 2026. Right of way acquisition on Phase Two is scheduled to start in 2026 with construction beginning in 2028.
Andrew Barksdale, Public Relations Officer for the NCDOT said, “We recognize how important this project – upgrading U.S. 70 to the future I-42 – is to this region, as well as the U.S. 70 Highway Corridor Commission, which includes representatives of local governments along this stretch of corridor. We would like to accelerate this project, if we are able to do so. We don’t know yet if we can. We are pursuing potential grant opportunities for our projects, including this one, in the hope of being able to deliver them sooner.”
“NC DOT is currently revising and updating the STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Program) to cover the years 2024-2033. That will be the first major update to our STIP in 3 years, and it will reflect current revenue streams and also updated right of way and construction costs. That draft STIP (our long-range highway building plan) is due by the end of this year, followed by public comment, before the N.C. Board of Transportation is set to vote on approving it 2023.”
“The infusion of additional money into our highway building program from the passage last year of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help us prepare a new STIP plan, but the extra money will mostly allow us to delay fewer projects,” Barksdale said.
The NC DOT will also be working closely with the Goldsboro Metropolitan Planning Organization, Eastern Carolina Rural Planning Organization, and Upper Coastal Plain Rural Planning Organization that cover the project limits.
Work on the US 70 Wilson’s Mills Bypass started last year and is scheduled for completion in 2024.
Related NC DOT US 70 Bypass Map Links: